FOOTBALL: Kentwood concludes perfect regular season with 34-10 win over Kentridge
October 28, 2010 · 11:24 PM
Off-the-field distractions did little to slow down the Kentwood High football team Thursday night at French Field.
If anything, the recent suspension of starting quarterback Shane Green for an alleged violation of the district’s athletic code very well may have galvanized the fifth-ranked Conquerors.
Playing their second straight game without Green, the Conquerors rolled over Kentridge 34-10 in a South Puget Sound League North Division showdown.
“We talked a lot about it,” said Kentwood coach Rex Norris. “They just somehow are able to pull together. They’re a very close team … they’re gamers. It has been something they’ve been consistent with. They’ve been resilient amongst the injuries and all the other distractions.
Green will have an appeal hearing Friday, Oct. 29.
Without their quarterback, standout running back Mikell Everette took the Conquerors (8-0 in league, 9-0 overall) on his back, rushing for 257 yards and three touchdowns. Everette eclipsed the 1,000-yard barrier with his final run of the game, a 30-yard touchdown that concluded the scoring.
“I think (the distractions) made us closer together, and made us play harder for each other,” said Everette, who now has 1,029 yards rushing this season. “It’s all about each other. We’re playing for each other. Yeah, we were a little disappointed, but you got to learn to play through it. Adversity comes and you’ve got to face it.”
The win helped Kentwood wrap up the regular season with an unblemished record. Kentwood hasn’t posted a perfect SPSL North mark since 1994, when it went 6-0 in league play. The Conquerors will play host to the No. 3 team out of the Greater St. Helen’s League – either Heritage (2-6) or Evergreen of Vancouver (1-7) – Nov. 5 at French Field in a state preliminary game.
Kentwood held Kentridge running back Cameron McKernan, who rushed for more than 500 yards and eight touchdowns in his last two games combined, to 51 yards on 16 carries and no scores.
“This is definitely the best defense we’ve played against in quite a while,” said Kentridge coach Marty Osborn.
Despite the loss, Kentridge will take the North’s No. 4 seed to the postseason and play at either Bellarmine Prep (7-1) or Gig Harbor (6-2) on Nov. 5.
Thursday night, Kentridge took a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 32-yard field goal by Wes Concepcion. Kentwood quickly answered, marching 78 yards on 11 plays, capping the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run by Everette to take a 7-3 lead into the half.
Kentwood pushed its lead to 14-3 just moments into the third quarter, when Everette ripped off a 74-yard touchdown run.
“He’s a very good high school running back,” Osborn said of Everette. “I’ve watched him all year, and he’s made plays against everybody in the league.”
The Conquerors used a little trickery to pad its lead on their next possession. Backup quarterback Adam Bese took a reverse handoff and found Morgan Hasegawa all alone in the back of the endzone, giving Kentwood a 20-3 advantage.
The Chargers didn’t answer until late in the third quarter, when quarterback Travis McGuire found tight end Caleb Smith on a 47-yard touchdown play. Smith caught the ball at the 25-yard line and proceeded to shed several defenders before hitting the open field and coasting in for the score. The touchdown cut Kentwood’s lead to 20-10 with 1:23 remaining in the third quarter.
The Conquerors, however, proceeded to score on their next two possessions, getting a 1-yard touchdown run from Banks before Everette finished things with a 30-yard scoring run. Banks finished with 91 yards and the touchdown on 14 carries.
“They’re a good football team,” said Kentridge’s Smith, who had 3 catches for 63 yards. “I can’t discredit them, they played well.”
Kentwood quarterback Dane Manio, who has taken over starting duties in Green’s absence, completed 4 of 6 passes for 86 yards.
Along with the one touchdown reception, Kentwood’s Hasegawa also had two interceptions on the night.
Kentwood finished with 469 yards of total offense (362 on the ground and 107 in the air). Kentridge finished with 204 yards of total offense.